TRANSCRIPT

The politics of Trump's relationship with Democrats

The 'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in

 

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 7, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We had a great meeting yesterday with Nancy Pelosi and Senator Schumer. And it was a very bipartisan meeting.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The compromise is that, not dictating what should happen, but working together.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I was very proud of the Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. He could speak New York to the president.

SEN. BEN SASSE, R-NEB.: Chuck Schumer, whose title is minority leader, not majority leader, just made himself the most powerful man in America for the month of December. This is an embarrassing moment for a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The yeas are 80, the nays are 17.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BRET BAIER, HOST: The vote this afternoon, the Senate passing this debt ceiling raise, the continuing resolution, and funding for Harvey. Of course now it goes to the House.

Also today, the president tweeted out this morning a clarification, saying, "For all of those DACA," the Dreamers, if you will, "that are concerned about your status during the six month period, you have nothing to worry about. No action!" And then we get the play-by-play about why that happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: He called this morning, and I said thanks for calling. This is what we need. The people really need reassurance from you, Mr. President, that the six-month period is not a period of round up. I asked the president to do it, and boom, boom, boom, the tweet appeared.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Boom, boom, boom. And Chuck Schumer was speaking New York to him.

What about all this? Let's bring in our panel. Tom Bevan, Real Clear Politics co-founder and publisher, editor in chief of Lifezette, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Crowley, senior foreign affairs correspondent for Politico.

All right, Laura, obviously there are some conservatives up there on the Hill who have real concerns about this think this deal puts them in a tough spot come December.

LAURA INGRAHAM, EDITOR IN CHIEF, LIFEZETTE.COM: Where were they for the last seven weeks? You hear Ben Sasse and all these people turning themselves inside and out. Mitch McConnell looks like he lost his best friend. What did they think was going to happen? They kept telling Donald Trump for several months that don't worry, this is a really complex process, this Obamacare repeal, but we got it. Then they said, waid, we almost have it on the skinny repeal. It's not as good, but it's going to be pretty good. It turns out McCain comes in and blows the whole thing up.

Time after time after time, Donald Trump trusted what was going on on Capitol Hill. They could not deliver a piece of legislation to his desk that actually could be signed. It wasn't possible. So what is someone who is a conservative populist do when he wants to move the ball down the field? He's going to find what other player can I throw to? And the only one on the field at the time for him was going to be Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. But the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves on this.

BAIER: Right, and here's what they say behind the scenes up on the Hill is that he took the first offer. He blindsided them, and now come December, as you heard in the sound bite, Chuck Schumer and the Democrats have a chip to play in the negotiations of whatever is happening, tax reform, whatever thing is happening, with another fiscal cliff. It may be their fault, but this is the position they're in.

TOM BEVAN, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: It is. And look, Trump was very clear. He did want a bipartisan win. But the problem is, and to Laura's point, no one to trust. I mean, 48 hours ago Nancy Pelosi was calling him a political coward over the DACA decision, OK. If the thinks this is some new bipartisan moment here I think he's going to be sadly mistaken. The first time he steps out of line and doesn't give Democrats what they want, they are going to back calling him a racist or a white nationalist or whatever. So I just think Republicans have to hope this was a one-off and that he is back in line with them. Otherwise I don't think anything is going to get done.

BAIER: Michael?

MICHAEL CROWLEY, POLITICO: And to your point, Tom, this poisons the well going forward. Now Republicans in Congress are never going to know when Trump might sell them out, when he might set them up, telling them one thing on Monday and do something else on Tuesday. And certainly if you imagine sort of a worst-case scenario for Trump, the Russia investigation deepens and widens and there is some movement for impeachment, Democrats are not going to be there defending him.

So Republicans I think, this is really, of all of the surreal plot twists in the Trump presidency, this is really one of the big ones. But I guess the final point I would make is that you remember Steve Bannon early in the Trump administration was talking about a populist coalition that would involve working closely with Democrats, for instance, on something like a major infrastructure project. And I think the Bannon vision, which is sort of Trumpism to me, isn't not partisan. It actually kind of grabs Democrats and Republicans and puts them together in a new coalition.

Now, I don't if we're actually seeing the beginning of that, but there is a sort of a predicate to this kind of thing. And again, it goes back to the question of whether Republicans like Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan should really trust Donald Trump.

BAIER: So the politics, though, we were talking about the Republican side and the right and conservatives having a problem. But on the Democratic side, there are actually some people on the left, especially the populist left or the farther left, who say don't get too close to this president. Remember, this is the bad guy. And when they start making deals, do they have some kind of problem from the left?

CROWLEY: I think there is a problem from the left.

BAIER: Look at Dianne Feinstein the other day who says maybe he has a chance of being an OK president. And she had to put out clarifying statements to say --

CROWLEY: She had to walk it back, and there was a lot of alarm about that initial, as I said, the Bannon vision involving infrastructure. There was a lot of pressure on Schumer in particular, don't chum up with your New York buddy. You're going to be hearing more of that.

INGRAHAM: This isn't the Bannon visions. This is the Trump vision. He campaigned as a populist, a conservative populist. I have a book coming out on this in October. Every president has had a populist moment. Reagan to even Clinton, Obama had a little populism. And now we have a president who is up against the wall here. He is. We have two natural disasters. Seven times they voted to repeal Obamacare, they could not deliver a bill. So these guys were ineffective.

BAIER: You don't have a problem with the DACA statements, saying I got your back even if Congress doesn't pass a law?

INGRAHAM: Substantively that is not where I am, but Donald Trump did not run on deporting the DACA kids. Remember what he ran on. He ran rescinding DACA. How many other Republican candidates who ran for president other than maybe Santorum would have said no DACA. We're rescinding it. It's over in six months. I don't think any of them. Jeb, Marco, they all would have let the DACA kids stay. So this idea of Donald Trump, how could he do this. He is doing what he thinks is the right thing at the right time. Americans are sick of the Republicans, 15 percent approval for Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan right now.

BAIER: The only problem is, if they are sick of the Republicans come 2018 and they lose, if Democrats have gavel control of these committees, it's not a good thing.

INGRAHAM: If they don't get tax reform through by early December, not Christmas Eve, but early December, mid-November, it's done anyway. What are they going to campaign on?

BAIER: I want to talk about one more thing, "Washington Post" headline, Tom, "Trump, Schumer agree to pursue plan to repeal the debt ceiling as far as the vote overall." Here's an interview I did before he got in the race back in 2015.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We owe $18 trillion. We're going to $21 trillion and ultimately $24 trillion, you know, $24 trillion, that's the magic number. That's like the point of no return. And we're there very quickly. We're going to end up being another Greece and maybe we're going to end up being anther Detroit because that's where our country is going. We need proper leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: You don't hear the concern about the debt and the deficit now.

BEVAN: No, you don't, and you heard it from him on other issues, right, on Social Security and entitlements. He hasn't been very strict. It's a pretty amazing transformation. If you think back to where the Tea Party started, it was about ideological purity on spending, no bailouts, all of that which drove this Republican wave. And now we have a president who is very much a pragmatist. Republican and Democrat, he wants to get something done. And he doesn't have the same ideological moorings around issues like debt and deficit.

INGRAHAM: He is not a libertarian. Libertarians can't win national elections.

BAIER: Yes, but he campaigned one way. You know that. Let me save some time for this next little panel. Next up, Hillary Clinton's new book about last fall's election and how Democrats are largely not really happy to re- litigate it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Part of what I'm writing is, OK, I'm going to talk about how it felt, what I think was in my control and what we could have done better and wish we had. Whatever political party or philosophy you have, you can't be all right with the idea that a foreign adversary was trying to influence the outcome of our election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Well, the book is coming out and the tour will start. Hillary Clinton's book, I'm saying, "What Happened," ripping on Bernie Sanders, President Obama, Vice President Biden, others, Matt Lauer. Senator Sanders releasing a statement "My response is that right now it's appropriate to look forward and not backward." And another Democrat from California, Jared Huffman, saying "She's got every right to tell her story. Who am I to say she shouldn't or how she should tell it? But it is difficult for some of us, even like myself, who supported her to play out these media cycles about the blame game and the excuses."

Back with the panel. Michael?

CROWLEY: This is not what Democrats want right now. They want to move forward. Hillary Clinton is not a popular figure in the country right now. A recent I think brand-new NBC poll showed her approval rating at 30 percent. That's lower than the worst Donald Trump has pulled since he took office. And the Clintons represent a chapter of the Democratic Party that is closed.

You can't blame Hillary Clinton for wanting to point some fingers here. This was a devastating, humiliating loss for her. And she has some fair points. I think some of it probably seems like sour grapes, and I know her detractors think she's a whiner. On the other hand, no candidate has had to suffer something like the Russian influence in the 2016 election, which even if it didn't alter the vote tallies, even if there was no collusion by the Trump campaign, you cannot rule out the possibility that it did influence the outcome of the election. I think that's a hard thing for her to deal with.

Finally, on Bernie Sanders, he really did bang her up pretty well. And I think you can go back and re-litigate the question of whether he should have campaigned on her quite so hard, although at the end of the day she did not have to give those speeches for Wall Street money that she really didn't need. So she should also be looking at the things she did to expose herself to some of the critiques that she's complaining about.

BAIER: This is definitely not party unity if you are hammering the guy who is still leading the left side.

INGRAHAM: The Clintons have always had trouble with the concept of, the strange concept called personal responsibility, going back to the vast right wing conspiracy comment with Matt Lauer all those years ago to always pointing the finger, blaming someone else.

She ran an abysmal campaign. It wasn't the Russians who won the campaign for Trump. They didn't turn the vote out in Michigan. It was Hillary Clinton ignoring the call of desperation from the rustbelt, from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and a sense of privilege and entitlement, a dynastic view of politics that people rejected in the Bushs and they rejected in the Clintons. And for her to blame Sanders, Sanders is actually pretty popular. He turned out tens of thousands of people in a stadium. Hillary Clinton could only do that when Beyonce and Jay-Z were there as far as I could tell. So nice try, Hillary, but a major fail.

BAIER: It's going to be an interesting tour. When you have people like Seth Meyers saying Bernie Sanders didn't tell you not to go to Wisconsin you know public opinion is someplace different.

BEVAN: Yes. I mean, look, this is Clinton trying to -- as Laura said, this was the end of a dynasty, and she was responsible for the closing of that chapter. She's going to do whatever she can to rehabilitate her legacy, Democrats be damned. They don't want to see her out there. She's going to be made fun on, but she's going to go out there to do what she has to do for herself, for her family, for her legacy.

But I agree with Laura in the sense that she ran a terrible campaign, and I think a lot of people are going to see it as blame-shifting, finger- pointing, and it's not going to go over well even among her fellow Democrats who would like to move on to whatever is next.

BAIER: Quickly.

CROWLEY: I think President Trump probably welcomes her reappearance on the public stage. Barack Obama has laid low. I think Democrats feel like Trump is at his best frequently when he has Clinton and Obama as foils. He got a lot of traction obviously attacking them in the campaign. So there's also that factor. You want to be careful about Trump being able to play some of the old hits from 2016 again.

BAIER: We have invited Secretary Clinton here on "Special Report." We will see if she takes us up on it when she does her tour.


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